The Examen Method of Prayer

The Examen Method of Prayer

Mark Manassee, senior minister at the Culver Palms Church of Christ in California, shared an article in his church bulletin that I appreciated very much.  In it, he comments on some reflections he had while  reading the book, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin.*

One powerful insight is a simple approach to prayer, suggested by James Martin, which includes five phases.  They are:

  1. Gratitude: Recall anything from the day for which you are especially grateful and give thanks.
  2. Review: Recall the events of the day, from start to finish, remembering where you felt God’s presence, and where you accepted or turned away from any invitations to grow in love.
  3. Sorrow: Recall any actions for which you are sorry.
  4. Forgiveness: Ask God for forgiveness.  Consider how you can reconcile with anyone you have hurt.
  5. Grace: Ask God for the grace you need for the next day and the ability to see God’s presence more clearly.

This would be a beautiful way to end the day: in God’s presence, taking inventory of the day’s events and putting them into a spiritual perspective!  Mark observes, “If you ever asked, ‘Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?’ the examen may show that God indeed has answered your prayers, though maybe not in the way or in the speed in which you had hoped.” (By the way, don’t get hung up on the word “examen.”  It is just a word to describe this approach to praying.)

Since prayer is such an important part of growing in Christ, I wanted to share these thoughts with you.  Hopefully, you will consider making this approach a part of your time alone with God. 

* Special thanks to James Martin and Mark Manassee for bringing this to our attention.

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